Community UCC eNews
April 30, 2020
Community UCC is an inclusive and progressive Christian Church doing social justice, environmental faithfulness, interfaith collaboration and spiritual formation to help ourselves and others grow in faith, hope and love.

The Church and Office will be closed until the City of Fresno's "Shelter in Place" advisory is lifted.
Sunday Sermon — Zoom and Facebook Live (not at church, for now)  

On Sunday, May 3 , Robin Carlson will deliver a sermon titled “ Love of Neighbor. This is also our monthly communion Sunday , so p lease have your bread and juice ready so that we can share in the meal together. See below for details of how we will "do church" for now.

Worship on Facebook Live will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Instructions for Zoom worship

For upcoming worship services, we will do a Zoom meeting, so we can see each other's faces even as we are apart. Zoom is a videoconferencing interface available for video and audio conferencing, chat, webinars and more.

Links to the Zoom worships will go out each Wednesday in a separate email just to church members, to ensure security. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line.

Lisa will continue to provide Facebook Live on Sundays at 10:30 a.m., by capturing her computer screen during the Zoom worship.
We have a new pastor – Julia Penner-Zook!

Dear Congregation,

I am pleased to announce that our congregation has passed the motion to accept Julia Penner-Zook as pastor of Community United Church of Christ. Her official ministry with us will begin on May 13 and her first sermon as our pastor will be on Sunday, May 17, which is also Stewardship Sunday. 

Welcome, Pastor Julia. We are looking forward to our future together, knowing we will be blessed.

Ann Scott, Moderator
A message from our incoming pastor:

We are in an arena, not on a stage.
We haven’t rehearsed the roles 
we’re in for a performance; 
we have embraced a call
to slog through the dirt and grime
of this unpredictable, infuriating, 
invigorating, excruciating, 
bountiful life we’re
in together.
Thank you for the call to join you.
Stewardship Campaign 2020: Four Great Loves

This year's Stewardship Campaign – Four Great Loves – kicks off on April 26 and will culminate on Stewardship Sunday, May 17. Each week will feature a different theme and different speaker:

  • April 26 – Love of Creation, featuring Sharon Powers-Smith
  • May 3 – Love of Neighbor, featuring Janet Capella
  • May 10 – Love of Children, featuring Doug Hoagland
  • May 17 – Love of Church, featuring Julia Penner-Zook

Community UCC conducts an annual Stewardship drive each spring to ask church members and supporters what they will bring to the mission of the church by completing a financial pledge form and Time and Talent sheet for the following fiscal year, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
If you have a prayer (of joy, for healing, gratitude, love) for someone or someplace that you would like lifted up during worship on Sunday mornings please send them to
We want to celebrate our grads!

If you have a child, grandchild, niece or nephew who is transitioning to a new school level, let us know so we can share in your celebration during the May 17 worship service! Sixth-grade to middle school, middle to high school, senior or college grad share them all!

Please send the following information to Rod Zook:
  • Name, grade, school and a photo.
Living the Questions

We will resume the Living the Questions study at 10 a.m. Mondays via Zoom.

  • May 4: Prayer: Intimacy With God
  • May 11: Compassion: The Heart of Jesus' Ministry
  • May 18: Creative Transformation
  • May 25: Embracing Mystery

Contact Robin if you need a link to the Zoom meeting (or check the email to church members that went out on Wednesday with Zoom links for this week).
Women's Book Discussion Group  will start a new book on May 5 " Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life " by Kent Nerburn. We will meet via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Please read the Introduction and Awakenings prior to our first gathering.
Pat Gebs (1917-2020)

From Phil Fullerton: It is with great sadness that I report the death of our own Pat Gebs on April 22, 2020, at San Joaquin Gardens, at age 102. She married Fred Willis in 1938 in Great Britain. They had one daughter.

After WWII, Pat emigrated to the U.S., where she was a department manager for Sears. She married Lewis Gebs and they had one child, Paul, who predeceased her. Her daughter and her son survive her as well as two grandsons, and her daughter-in-law, Barbara, and Barbara's two step-children.
Lowell Barnett (1936?-2020)

From Phil Fullerton: It is with great sadness that I report the death of our dear friend, Lowell Barnett, on April 22, 2020, at San Joaquin Gardens.

Lowell was born in Chicago. He married Beth Richardson of Community UCC and they were married for many years. She has predeceased him.

He is survived by a daughter, and predeceased by another. He is also survived by four step-children, 10 step-grandchildren and three step-great grandchildren.

COVID-19 pandemic offers us a chance to restore balance in isolation

By Gary Wayne Walker
Published in The Fresno Bee , April 26, 2020

Much has been said and written about negative impacts resulting from our current shelter in place program due to COVID-19. While the many inconveniences relating to being a prisoner in one’s own home without normal, ongoing person-to-person socialization with friends, neighbors and loved ones head the list, other consequences merit attention.

Specifically, the affects of prolonged loneliness and social isolation, two related but very different conditions.

Loneliness is not the same as social isolation. Some of us can be alone without being lonely, others can be surrounded by other people, yet still experience loneliness. We all know people who prefer being by themselves, feeling that they are their own best company.

While social isolation, the absence of social contact, can lead to feelings of loneliness and sadness, it can also result in bursts of creativity. Indeed, throughout history some of the most brilliant thinkers, artists and writers have embraced life in social isolation.

Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” written in 1854, has much to say on this subject. Himself something of a hermit, Thoreau’s American classic contains an essay entitled  Solitude  which suggests that a degree of separation from others is not only healthy and proper, but can be productive.

Shakespeare was no stranger to the task of plying his trade amid difficult conditions. While writing  Romeo and Juliet  in 1593-94, the bubonic plague was ravishing his world, the theaters were closed, and the great play was presumably written in isolation. There are numerous indirect references to the epidemic in this masterpiece, along with the more direct, famous line, “A plague on both your houses.”

When the bubonic plague re-surfaced in 1603, a particularly lethal outbreak that resulted in 30,000 city dwellers dead, Shakespeare wrote  King Lear Macbeth  and  Antony and Cleopatra,  all three in isolation .

I envision Vincent Van Gogh painting feverishly, alone in his room in Arles. Emily Dickinson, isolated in Amherst, writing about “solitary prowess/of a Silent Life.”

In modern times, no one typifies greater creativity in isolation than the late Philip Roth, who died at 85 in 2016. The author of such notable novels as  American Pastoral The Human   Stain  and  The Plot Against America , Roth lived most of his life alone, having experienced two short-term marriages that ended in divorce.

He once commented, “When I write, I’m alone.” Indeed, when approached by a man eager to write Roth’s biography, his response was, “There’s nothing to write about. I go into a room, sit in front of a typewriter all day long and work, then I go to bed. That’s it.”

Roth was the ultimate anti-Hemingway. No African safaris, deep sea fishing, fights in bars, or beautiful women for him. He simply worked hard and produced great novels, all in isolation.

Mexican poet and diplomat Octavio Paz wrote “Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.”

Whether in isolation one practices meditation, keeps a journal, spends time reflecting or engages in reading, writing or painting, or other pursuits, it’s a good way to restore balance, refuel, and add a new dimension to your life.
In each week's eNews, we include a news article from our larger denomination,  United Church of Christ ,  to show the faithful work being done in other places.
Global updates reveal COVID-19 challenges, inequalities, as UCC partners aid the vulnerable

How do you wash your hands of coronavirus in an African drought? Why is the president of the Philippines giving shoot-to-kill orders during a pandemic? Where do Palestinians get health care while blockaded in Gaza? What can North Americans do to help?

Those are some questions and themes emerging from live COVID-19 updates being offered via Facebook by  Global Ministries  of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Continue reading at
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

May Birthdays

1 Wendy Thompson
3 Sarah Fey, Thomas Russell
6 Benjamin Kloos
7 Louise Andrews, Bill Dailey, Mirth Lundal
8 Adriana Wall
11 Gail McDougle
15 Marty Mulvihill
16 Hayden Shea
17 Lynn Samuelian, Victoria Wall
19 Marilyn Wall
21 Tom Carroll, Promila Mahtab
22 Robin Carlson, Karri Jones    
24 Sib White
25 Spence Hipp
29 Maria Contreras
31 Donna Wright
NO May Anniversaries

Did we overlook someone's birthday or anniversary for this month? Please let Marilyn ( ) and Lisa ( ) know so we can get you in next week. We never intend to leave anyone out.
Upcoming Church Events

  • We will resume listing events after things get back to normal. For now, events have either been cancelled or will be rescheduled.
eNews deadline is 10 a.m. Wednesdays

CUCC eNews is a weekly publication distributed every Thursday. Deadline for submitting announcements is 10 a.m. Wednesdays (and earlier is appreciated). Please send your announcements to Marilyn at . Lisa Boyles (, 559.244.9502) is the eNews editor and communications liaison for our church.
We've updated our Joyful Giving page to reflect the many ways members can help support our Church's missions and operations, especially needed in these critical and uncertain times.

The Church and Office will be closed until the City of Fresno's "Shelter in Place" advisory is lifted.

Phone: 559.435.2690